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Baby Hippo Won’t be Killed and Fed to Big Cats at Swiss Zoo

By Sandy Sand     Mar 14, 2009 in World
Rumors as big as a hippopotamus circulated in the media in general and the Wall Street Journal, in particular, faster than jungle drums carry messages, that a baby hippo was going to be euthanized and fed to the big cats at a Swiss zoo.
Lack of space at the Basel, Switzerland, zoo was the basis of the rumors and the possibility that baby hippo Farasi could meet an untimely end. The rumors were quickly quashed by zoo spokeswoman, Tanja Dietrich, who told the Associated Press:
"We're confident we'll find a place for him."
She added that reports that Farasi will be euthanized for lack of space were “misleading.”
Although Dietrich did admit that there are rare cases in which they must kill an animal, and it’s subsequently fed to the zoo’s carnivores.
She said she doubted this would be an option in Farasi’s case. She stressed that Farasi has to stay with his mother for another year, because he relies on her milk for nourishment.
During that time a new home can be found for him, and there was nothing urgent about finding him a new home immediately, she said.
European zoos maintain a policy of allowing their animals to reproduce in an appropriate way for each species, and they don’t normally sterilize them or use other birth control methods.
The non-sterilization policy often leads to overpopulation of any particular animal species.
Farasi’s mother, Helvetia, is a reproducing giant, with Farasi being her eighth offspring. All seven of Farasi’s brothers and sisters have been given to other zoos for two reasons: Lack of space and to avoid inbreeding, Dietrich said.
There was not mention of the zoos altering their non-sterilization policy or a selected number of animals.
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